By: Eugene C. Barker

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: March 4, 2020

An empresario was a land agent or land contractor. Under the system used by the Mexican government as a means of colonization (see MEXICAN COLONIZATION LAWS). The Imperial Colonization Law of 1823 invited Catholic immigrants to settle in Mexico; provided for the employment of agents, called empresarios, to introduce families in units of 200; defined the land measurement in terms of labores (177 acres each), leagues or sitios (4,428 acres), and haciendas (five leagues each); and defined the privileges and certain limitations of immigrants and empresarios. Outstanding Texas empresarios included Stephen F. Austin, Samuel May Williams, Green DeWitt, Martín De León, Haden Edwards, Sterling C. Robertson, James Power, James Hewetson, John McMullen, James McGloin, and Arthur G. Wavell.

Mary Virginia Henderson, "Minor Empresario Contracts for the Colonization of Texas, 1825–1834," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 31, 32 (April, July 1928).

Time Periods:
  • Spanish Texas
  • Mexican Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Eugene C. Barker, “Empresario,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 28, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/empresario.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

March 4, 2020

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